Sorry Guys and Girls. I’ve not had time to write Moliblog for some time.
I’ll try harder this year to get back into it. I enjoy writing and I hope you enjoy reading the blog too? I’ve got lots happening this year and it would be good for me to get my thoughts down as the year progresses and maybe you can follow along.
Around a decade ago I took the long 23 + hour flight to Perth, Australia to catch up with my family that emigrated there back in the 1980’s. Having hired a convertible car that at the time was considered an unusual car to have due to the climate, I explored a relatively small amount of Western Australia. Perth itself is considered the most isolated city in the world and at the time I visited, it wasn’t heavily populated either. That’s not changed much now with less than 2 million people living there in 2018.
One of the places I visited was about an hours drive outside Perth to a very empty town called Fremantle, that at the time had less than 10,000 people living in it. Traveling with my cousin Nick on a hot day, we walked down a quiet side road looking for somewhere to get a drink. We stumbled across the ‘Little Creatures Brewery’ and that’s when I discovered my favorite Pale Ale. Despite my reputation for having a beer, I don’t really drink that much, more quality over quantity and this beer was most certainly a quality brew. Getting back to London I was clearly going to miss it and decided to find some way of getting it at home and remember having to pay through the nose to have a case of 24 bottles shipped over. In recent times supermarket chain Waitrose finally began selling the beer and for a reasonable price too.
Sometimes I was lucky to find a pub that sold it and would then feel obliged to share a fairly camp picture with Nick back in Australia.
Now things have reached a whole new level with Little Creatures opening a brewery in London’s Kings Cross area and naturally I had to pay them a visit.
It’s safe to say that lately we’ve had some Australian type weather, with a fairly intense heatwave. Along with visiting the brewery on a Friday night, it was always going to be busy experience. However, regardless of how busy it was, I was really impressed with the level customer engagement from the team of servers and the detailed knowledge they had of the brewing process and of course how each of the now local brews tasted. I was even offered a selection of tasters to explore my next choice.
The servers really knew their product and the history of the brand. I was particularly fascinated to learn that when the owner first moved from the UK to Australia he wanted to make his own cask Ale like he had been drinking back in the UK. However, warm beer in that climate was never going to work. So he created a beer using hops that were and still are imported from the UK. Doing this he created a beer that has a more intense and distinctive flavour.
I got chatting to a fantastic, customer focused manager called Madeleine whom I bored with the story above. She could tell I was a fan of the brand and she made my night by giving me a bag of goodies that included a Little Creatures Baseball cap, T-shirt, Serving tray and a collectable metal sign. I have to say, that was very unexpected and very welcome.
It’s rare to find great customer service, product knowledge and a great product all in one place. I’ve often found that that you either get one or two of the three. On those rare occasions when all the boxes are ticked, it’s worth writing about it and singing their praises as I have now. Hopefully you’ll get to pay them a visit some time soon and get the Little Creatures experience yourself.
I’ve been thinking about what to write this time. I really don’t think I’ve spent any amount of time looking at Brexit and that might have been a good idea actually. Politics is a fairly emotive subject to say the least. Some people say that in polite company you should never talk about religion and politics. I’m not about to offer an opinion about the result of the referendum or the subsequent negotiations that have taken us to the agreed leave date on the 29th March 2019.
Brexit has been a national focus for our politicians, the media and the vast majority of our population. It feels to me like a national obsession that regardless of which way you decided to vote, everyone, every day since has been reading and talking about Brexit. Frankly I’ve had enough of it myself now but like most people, I just wanted to see where we end up and maybe we can move on with other important national issues that have taken a back burner. On a side note, I’ve always thought that the name, Brexit was loaded in the subconscious of the electorate to enable the leave campaign to have an advantage. It wasn’t called, BRIT-IN after all. Anyway, yesterday was deadline day after 3 years of negotiations, planning, votes and political arguments and we didn’t leave the European Union. During the referendum campaign I thought I knew what Brexit meant, however now I’m not so sure that the information given to the electorate was true and accurate. The fallout from the result has now created many difficulties which appear beyond resolution and to the satisfaction of the majority of our MP’s.
Without supporting either campaign or side of the argument, I decided to see what the area around the Houses of Parliament would be like on the big day. I noticed a big crowd gathering on TV and wondered if I’d encounter a movie like environment akin to ‘V for Vendetta’ with an angry mob, hell bent on the over throw of the government or just a peaceful demonstration demanding the vote be honored as promised for so long. However, it was neither of these things and what I witnessed disturbed me.
A found myself walking out of Westminster station and into a mob of bald headed middle aged men drinking beer from the nearby pub and singing the short version of ‘God Save the Queen’ on repeat while in the distance a big screen shows guest speakers demanding our very own Independence day with the likes of Tommy Robinson telling the crowd what they wanted to hear while they applauded and lapped up every word in between glugs of beer.
Some of the crowd were holding placards demanding ‘Leave means Leave’ and ‘Brexit Betrayal’ with their anger and views being understandable given the current situation. They were exercising their democratic right to protest and we should expect nothing less. I was shocked however that among this gathering were groups of people that spent far too much time talking in terms that basically resembled, ‘England for the English’ and with all the sentiments of an English Defense League gathering. It was so uncomfortable to hear these people talking in such abhorrent terms that I had to move away from them and I wanted nothing to do with their views which should never be connected to subject of Brexit.
I walked along to Abingdon Street gardens where the media always set up for live broadcasts. The camera crews and lights had very little space between them with the worlds media finding the perfect spot for a Westminster background. I spoke briefly to broadcaster Jon Snow about the day which we both agreed was a very strange experience.
I will note, that not all of the people I came into contact with were racist thugs and some had a great understanding of the subject and could articulate themselves well and why they felt the need to voice their anger and concerns. It’s my hope that more people want to be associated with those people and not the latter. My final experience as I moved back towards the station was when I met another broadcast journalist and political editor for ITV News, Robert Peston.
As we started to speak, a group of angry men started calling him a BBC left wing cunt. They kept shouting at him and not giving him the chance to respond. Then came the spitting at him while the police did nothing. Shocking and disgusting. According to reports, only 5 people were arrested that day. I think the police took a very wide view on what constituted a crime that day and allowed such disgusting behavior to occur.
We are a nation that are very divided on so many levels and we have millions of individual views on what Brexit should look like. I can confirm that no longer know what Brexit means.
I’m not sure how many of you are left that used to read Moliblog. I’ve taken a long break from writing and posting my pictures and I sort of fell out of love with it all. It seems that every other blog has something to do with make-up tips and fashion or Youtube-ers that have become youth superstars with their pages earning millions and even more followers. Who really wants to read the ramblings of a white middle aged fat man? Having thought about this recently I decided that the blog was really for me to share my thoughts with myself and if others choose to read it then great but I really don’t want to get hung up on followers and stats. I’ll do my best to write on a more regular basis as I used to really enjoy it.
Here’s a catch up with me meeting the amazing Darcy Bussell at the Royal Opera house for a signing of her book Evolved,
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @moliblog
My search for amazing street art got a boost today with a visit to East London and the streets that surround Brick Lane. Traditionally this was a destination area for a vast multitude of curry houses and bagels but like much of London it continues to change and develop with this area now starting to fill up with trendy hot spot like bars, antique markets, specialist chocolatiers and craft stalls. Along with this obvious gentrification comes a great collection of street art. As I mentioned in a previous blog I’ve become a real fan of this art form and walking around the rough streets of E.1 and in some cases, rubble strewn alley ways I discovered not only some great creations but loads of fellow admirers doing much the same as me.
Normally I’d be fairly concerned about heading down some unlit dodgy passageway with an expensive smartphone or camera for fear of being bludgeoned to death, however in this case I actually had to get into line if I wanted to catch a glimpse of the latest offering. The crowds were impressive and the notion of the traditional gallery is extinct in these cases as the streets become the gallery and you never know what you might find behind the every growing crowd.
I also finally managed to catch someone creating something new.
During my travels of 2016 I’ve spent an obsessive amount of time looking around for something interesting to photograph. I started to notice that London is actually full of really great street art. Not the shitty graffiti which some brainless millenial created by writing his name all joined up for the first time in his life, that is really just a horrid visual litter but the creations done with thought and talent. I found these creative outlets down alleyways, on shutters outside shops and on walls where you wouldn’t expect it. I’m not aware of a map or guide to London street art and I’m sure if I was to look really hard I’d find one, however not knowing where these designs are located added to the joy of finding them. I’ve always loved the work and social messages created by Banksy the elusive street artist, so I guess it stands to reason that I’d be attracted to similar work.
I’m looking forward to finding more and thought I’d share some examples of what I’ve found so far.
I’ve enjoyed writing my blog and sharing my views and experiences. I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading them too. I don’t update as much as I should and very few people ever comment on my posts but the numbers of viewers from around the world lets me know I’m getting myself out there.
At the beginning of this year I decided to embark on a photographic project that would involve me taking a photograph a day and publishing them of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The first two social media formats are for public consumption and with the right hash tags I can be sure that they get to the right audience that might actually enjoy them. Now, I use the word photograph and not picture for a particular reason. Snaps and Pics in my view are images that anyone can take of anything and often represent little more than the capturing in an instant of what is in front of the viewer. It is in essence what the world looks like at that time and place. Nothing wrong in that and I’ve taken a fair few of those pictures over the years. However, a photograph for a photographer is the capture of the world how the photographer or I see it and wants others to see it. The image can tell a story or highlight an object or character. It isn’t necessarily even the truth but it is an art that communicates a reality I want to project to the world as the photographer. Was that too deep?
The challenge I set myself has a couple of self-imposed rules. I need to take a photograph a day for year and I can only feature once in any of the 365 images. Simple really? Not really! I find myself looking around wherever I go, like a lost tourist, hoping to find that magic photograph and the reality is the daily commute is becoming fairly used up for great shots and I’ve still got a long way to go but I’m over 50 images in so far and I’m enjoying the challenge. Some places are duller than others and my inspiration on a Monday morning can sometimes be lacking. I’m finding that some people have followed me from day one and some groups and companies have started following me too.
Many of the photographs are taken and edited on my iPhone 6 which I feel demonstrates that you don’t need to have an expensive camera to take interesting images. I think it just needs thought, patience and a dash of creativity.
Hear are some of the photographs I’ve taken this year so far. Please leave some comments.
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